In a brief discussion with a Senpai that I respect immensely some time ago, we were discussing Karate and the reasons we train. Senpai has been training for 30 years and he offered me a piece of advice: “Train for yourself. Don’t look around you to see what others are doing. Train for yourself.”
I’ve given this some thought and I think it is sound advice. Everyone has a different take on what a Black Belt should look like in term of their skills; how an organization should be run; how gradings should go and how much time we should spend on basics. Spending time trying o figure all this out, or joining in the debate or discussion is nothing more than a distraction – it won’t help your karate. Sensei Michael Clarke of Australia said this to me: ‘Questions won’t bring you answers. Training brings the answers from within you.’ He’s right. I train and I evaluate my training and in doing so I get better. I plow though the plateaus and go back to basics when a Kata doesn’t make sense or techniques aren’t flowing properly.
In my class there are lots of Karateka to learn from, and there is no need to look for anything negative. Comparisons are silly. Karateka need to train to refine their Karate to the best of their ability – not to the standard of the guy next to them.
It’s basic really… Stop asking, doubting, judging and surmising. Just train for yourself.